By Beth ©
ATF Universe (Ezra)
The May 2004 Challenge (the Word Challenge):
offered by Lady Catherine
Write a story in which the boys discover the magic in a word or words- for better or for worse. Now, I don't mean that they have to sit around and have an English discussion about the meaning of a word. It could be a discussion or a feeling or a realization or a memory or anything. This challenge is in celebration of the magic of the written or spoken word!
This was inspired by Mary at the post office...I’m not exaggerating her character at all (okay, maybe a little, but it is JUST a little). She told me this story yesterday and I had to put it on paper...
I would love to hear what you think, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ezra entered the post office and waited in line, as usual, only two workers were pulling a shift so the patrons were once again crammed into the small area feeling like sardines. Casually, Ezra pulled the sleeve of his shirt up and glanced at his watch—he was going to be late, again, but Larabee would have to deal with it.
Mary stood behind the counter with her antique glasses slipping slowly down her nose as she punched in zip codes from the stack of letters her client had set on the counter. She smiled and talked about the weather, keeping her attitude in check. She’d look up every once in a while and eye the man standing in front of Ezra. “Have a good one, Sally,” she said, as her friend walked away. “NEXT!” she called, as though the room was huge and filled with arguing football players.
“I’VE HAD IT!” the customer yelled, dropping his package on the counter. “Every time I come in here nobody’s working or everyone is talking to some woman with more problems than John Doe on death row!” he snapped, shoving the package forward. He moved impatiently, shuffling his feet and causing his long coat to sway back and forth. “This package has MY address on it, not my NEIGHBORS and I want it delivered to ME—at MY HOUSE! I’m TIRED of this!!”
Ezra winced, Mary was going to eat him for lunch.
“LISTEN,” Mary snapped, causing everyone to stop and look at her. “YOU are not yelling at the POST OFFICE, you’re yelling at me, and I can SUE you—not Sue the French Writer, but sue as in bringing civil action against.” She placed her hand on her hip and tucked her chin just slightly to look over the top of her glasses. Her long brown hair swept her backside as she tipped her head just slightly. “Hell, I’ll even take that shirt off your back if I have to!”
The man frowned and squinted his eyes, and then looked up, as though he were adding up his savings and checking account. Wisely, he kept his mouth shut.
Mary smiled and nodded, but she quickly averted her eyes to the man standing behind Ezra. “You,” she pointed, “roll your eyes one more time and I will have myself a couple of fuzzy dangly earrings—do you catch me?”
The young collage student stood straight and pulled his legs closer together. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Good,” she said, looking at the man before her. She grabbed the package and looked at the address. “Is this your correct address?” Mary asked, looking up.
“Yes,” the man answered.
“Then I’ll notify the currier that he’s missing your stop.” She pushed the package back. “NEXT!”
Ezra couldn’t help but smile as he stepped up to the counter; exposing his dimples and boyish good looks. “Sue is definitely a word that can shut someone up,” he said, placing his letters on the counter and reaching back for his wallet.
“No shit,” Mary laughed, placing each letter on the scale for pricing. “Men are the worst...come in here, yelling and causing such a fuss. It’s a wonder more of us don’t go postal.” She pushed her glasses up and read off the prices. “I had a man hit me once,” she said, never losing her cool. Mary turned and smiled. “Hit him in the head with my cast iron skillet, split his head wide open—he never hit me again.”
Ezra smiled and shook his head, he didn’t doubt it.
“Took his sorry ass to the hospital in his new Ford truck...let him bleed all over the white leather upholstery—should have let the sorry fuck die.” She turned. “That’ll be $7.21.”
Ezra put the exact change in her hand and nodded. “Mind if I use your quote?”
“Hell, honey, it’s more than a quote—it’s a fact, and use it all you like.” She deposited the money into her till. “NEXT!”